5 Ways To Achieve What You Really Want For The New Year


Do you know how long the average New Year’s Resolution lasts?

Well the research shows that on average when someone makes a promise to themselves at 12:01am on New Years day it lasts somewhere between 3 hours and 3 weeks.

It seems that we do not have much stickability to our goals at this time.

It is even worse when we return to the daily grind of life and work after a much treasured period of respite over the Christmas period. All these good intentions seem to just fly out the window.

So how do we avoid getting sucked back into this daily grind and enhance the stickability to the goals we want to achieve for our work and life?

1)   Write it down

“A goal is just a dream until we write it down”. If you keep all your good ideas and your thoughts about what you want to achieve up in your head – that is exactly where they will stay. If you have a goal, write it down. We are 3x more likely to achieve a goal when we write it down, 5 x more likely to achieve a goal if we put action steps with it and 7x more likely to achieve a goal if we tell someone else about our goal to ensure accountability.

2)   Habit over motivation

I tend to have a few disagreements with people I work with about what comes first – motivation or habit. Most people say to themselves, “I’ll do that when I feel motivated”. The problem is that motivation never comes and the goal never gets achieved. If we want to achieve something new or different from what we traditionally do everyday then we have to create a habit. If you want to exercise – you can’t wait until you feel motivated. You have to create a routine or habit including exercise in what you do every day and do it whether you feel motivated or not. Habit first and then motivation comes.

3)   Find Your Word

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions!! What I do is pick a word every year which represents what I want to achieve. Last year my word was “Spirit”. I wanted to engage in my work and life with “spirit” and every time I engaged in an activity or set a goal for myself, I checked it against my word and all this represented for me.

This year, my word is Monkey. This is actually my Chinese Zodiac sign and I wanted to live and breathe what this represented in 2019. I want to be curious, adaptable, flexible and perseverant.  So, when I set goals for myself into 2019, I will be checking them against my word.

What word will you set for yourself in 2019?

4)   Balance

I think we have a somewhat distorted view of what resilience and mental toughness is all about. We have this view that the more we surge ahead and strive to achieve the more resilient we are. But resilience is not just about how we endure, but also about how we recharge. The very lack of a recovery period (which we often deny ourselves) is dramatically holding back our collective ability to be resilient and successful. 

As Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz have written, if you have too much time in the performance zone, you need more time in the recovery zone, otherwise you risk burnout. Mustering your resources to “try hard” requires burning energy in order to overcome your currently low arousal level. This is called upregulation. It also exacerbates exhaustion. Thus, the more imbalanced we become due to overworking, the more value there is in activities that allow us to return to a state of balance. The value of a recovery period rises in proportion to the amount of work required of us.

5)   What Can You Control

There is an old Chinese proverb that say:

“If you have a problem that you can control, then you don’t have a problem. And if you have a problem that you can’t control, then you also don’t have a problem”

We all have limited reserves of energy. If we are to achieve our goals, we need to worry less about the things we can’t control and consider focusing our energy on the things that ARE within our circle of influence.


Want some help setting some personal or professional goals for 2019. Contact Michelle on 0412047590 or via michelle@bakjacconsulting, or check here to review Bakjac Consulting’s website for more information.

Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Psychologist, Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a credentialed Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner. Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, leadership, behaviour and wellbeing.




"One Word"

Well it’s the middle of January (already) and I wonder how many people have already given up on their New Year’s Resolutions.

Every year, we engage in this ritual. We pick a single point in time each year to try and make a huge life decision, (usually with little thought or planning). We aim to change our attitudes and our behavior through a brief moment of reflection at 11:55pm on New Year’s Eve and expect that will suffice to allow us to reach our lofty goal. Yeah right!!

It would seem that our three most popular goals are 1) getting fit, 2) lose weight and 3) quit smoking. Yet within a month of setting these goals, we have tossed them by the wayside, some of us with a little twang of guilt.

According to research, most people — 75 percent — who make a resolution fail on their first attempt and most people — 67 percent — make more than one resolution.

Why not try something different this year!

Why not just undertake the reflective task of setting yourself “one word”. One big, contextual word for the year. That’s right, no resolutions, no SMART goals, just one word that is meaningful for you and what you want to achieve for the year ahead.

I recently finished reading “The Game Changer” by Dr Jason Fox. If you get the chance it’s a great read and fantastic for change management and motivation. Dr Fox talks about contextual momentum. This is getting the balance right between specific goals and open possibilities while still moving forward and making progress. He recognises that it is great to have small crisp action steps that give you daily and weekly traction. You can also plan for monthly and even quarterly goals, however when you start to plan longer term than that, things are not as easy and we can’t necessarily see that far out. There are too many factors we can’t yet use our crystal ball for. What we can do is set “one word”. One word against which we can measure all of the plans and goals we set for ourselves for that year.

If we are going to use the 1st January each year as a time for reflection, it certainly is a great time to hit the reset button. What do you want the coming year to represent for you. What “one word” will exemplify your contextual goal for the year. Then every time you set yourself a new goal, or a new project – you can measure it against your one word.

Now don’t go for the obvious here ok!! I know it sounds logical to pick the first word that comes into your head. But don’t do that! This takes time, reflection. Your word will be with you for a whole 12 months. Make it count. Consider: What do you want to achieve this year? Do you have a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)? Or is this year about consolidation and sustaining what you have? Your word has to instantly represent to you what you want and how you will achieve it.

It took me days to come up with my word. In starting a new venture, I felt both courageous and fearful at the same time. I wanted a word that would give me guts and make me feel brave and just keep me going. Now having four kids, you can’t avoid animated movies. One of the favorites in our house is called “Spirit”. It’s about a horse who travels across the plains of the wild west to return to his family. He overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles on his way to achieve his goal. (If you get a chance to see it, indulge, it really is great and having Bryan Adams do the score is an added bonus). So after much soul searching, I had decided on my one word. Spirit! How could I demonstrate spirit every day, how could I keep getting up and demonstrate grit, mental toughness, courage and the will to keep going to achieve my goal and still be focused on my family and my values. So, now I have my word. I hope that with every SMART goal I set, every plan I make, every decision and every negotiation, I remember my one word.

My family has not escaped my excitement over this concept either. They were all set the task of coming up with their own “one word” that represented what they wanted to achieve so far.   So my family’s choice of words is Grow, Strive, Force, Attention and Lion. And for each of them, their word means something real and tangible for them. And we all know each other’s word. This will hold us accountable not only to ourselves, but also to each other.

So…… Now it’s your turn. What will your “one word” be. What will your one word be that you measure all goals against for this year. Have a go. Think about it carefully. Once you have it, toss it around in your head for a day or so and make sure it fits you like a good pair of jeans. Then use a whole A4 page and print out your word and put it on the fridge. Now you’re ready. Go for it. Achieve everything your word represents.